I suppose our collective comments could be seen as a case for the prosecution. However, to me the most damning "evidence" for Gramophone's decline is that IRR was able to establish itself in the first place. Most of those 43k readers are probably ex-Gramophone people, though a fair number may still read both magazines, I suppose. The founders of IRR spotted that Gramophone had moved away from its niche in the marketplace and moved in to occupy the territory.
I had a conversation about Gramophone just last night with a friend who has been a subscriber for decades and who is still a subscriber. He was unaware that the magazine has, apparently, been sold. Interestingly, he was complimentary about the layout of the digital version though he fully agrees that the quality of the content is nowhere near what it used to be.
We both agreed that the ideal for Gramophone would be to reposition its content somewhere roughly equidistant from its current style and IRR's style. Were it to do so I think I'd be likely to re-subscribe as it would be interesting to have views from Gramophone and IRR.
My friend was also of the view that the number of Gramophone reviewers should be pruned, which he felt might well drive up quality.
Of course, the real problem for Gramophone is how it could get back lost readers. I fear those of us who have fallen by the wayside will not be won back easily, not least because how will we know if it does improve?
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